Monday, April 13, 2009

From the Doctor's Office: Hero's Arms

When I decided to review games, I made  a promise to myself that I'd fully complete the game before posting a review. Not only because I like to know what I'm talking about, but that I care that my reviews are of the utmost quality for you. Hero's Arms (Presented by BerzerkStudios) takes roughly 6-7 hours of play time to defeat Gordzak, and probably an additional hour to get all the items and fill the besitary. The side effects from playing for this long are quite mild really. Sure, I've dyed my hair red and have started looting my co-workers for chicken legs, but this review isn't about that. It's about answering one simple question: "Is investing that much time really worth it?". There's a long answer and a short answer to that question. The short answer is just as simple as the question: Probably. The long answer is as follows:

Gameplay: 3/5 Hero's Arms stays faithful to it's claim of mimicking Link and his seemingly endless quest to rescue Princess Zelda. You'll embark on a journey to fight the most evil being in all the land, grabbing coins, items and potions e'er you go. It's your standard run-of-the-mill RPG. Enemy AI, however, seems non-existent. Most baddies (including most major bosses) can be dispatched by standing slighly offset from them, and spamming Sword Attacks or Ice Beams, for when range is necessary. This gives the game a tedious, hack-and-slash feel. Gaining experience from these dimwitted monsters makes fighting worth it, however. The game allows to player to choose which stat to upgrade each Level-Up (Attack, Magic, or Health). Then, the Exp price goes up. The player can choose to raise each stat equally or stockpile Exp to raise one stat, allowing unique character customization. Sadly, leveling up becomes a chore when you're fighting enemies that follow a linear path into the blade of your sword. Another thing I wasn't too pleased with was when I defeated all the enemies in a room to open a door. The moment I entered, a Pigman knocked me back through the door, which locked, causing me to have to fight all the enemies again. Overall, gameplay isn't bad, but certain nuances, like fighting the same enemies over and over, and sprite lag from too many on-screen Zombies, really drag the game down. 

Visual: 4.5/5 First and foremost, Hero's Arms is pretty. Sprites and cutscenes look like works of art. BerzerkStudios did a great job with detailing. And running around grinding for Exp and money is more fun if the world looks good. Menus are simple and easy to navigate; a must have for an RPG. The weapons look great too (Albeit you have to purchase the best ones... Another let down that should probably be mentioned elsewhere in this review). The Ice Sword looks like it could split a man in two, and it does do just that. 

Audio: 3/5 This is what really killed me. Being a musician, I always give game music a fair shake. After I realized how bad it was though, I had this game's music muted faster than you could say "Hey! Listen!". Thankfully, though, I COULD mute the game in favor of some better music. The constant fanfare in Hero's Arms could probably scar anyone who left it on during the whole game. You can spot these people; they shudder at the phrase "MIDI trumpet". Sound effects were marginal at best. I quite liked the *Pof!* noise when a projectile was deflected. 

Difficulty: 2/5 I've alluded to the game's difficulty earlier in the review. Basic ground enemies like the Ratman and Pigman will walk into your attack range as you stand there, mashing Z. Most bosses can be killed by either backing them into a wall and hacking away at that health bar, or (if they're stationary) wailing on them, taking a few steps away when they prepare a special attack. And, as mentioned earlier, you have to buy the best weapons and armor in the game. Meaning that if you had the determination, you could kill crabs in world one until you have 5000 gold, then start the game with the Frost Sword. 

Overall: 3.5/5 To sum it all up, I have to say that Hero's Arms isn't all that great of a game. It captivates you with it's humorous storyline, cute Legend of Zelda references, and simple gameplay. But then it gets long. And the novelty wears off. Somehow, though, I hit a sort of trance while playing. And I felt compelled to move on. Ultimately, it's up to you if you want to invest 6-7 hours time on this game. 95 points are up for grabs, and you won't feel too bad earning them while playing Hero's Arms. I did have some fun solving the games simple puzzles scattered along the way, to be honest. And Hero's Arms story will leave you smiling. That's all from me for now. Check back soon for my next Doctor's Office Review! 

Kong Score: 4.13/5


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